Information on Federal Financial Planning and Retirement from the Federal Employees Almanac


Chapter 3, CSRS and FERS: Service Credit Rules

Contributions made to the various federal retirement programs are a part of the eligibility criteria that must be met to qualify for benefits.

Chapter 3, Section 1: Retirement Systems: General Description

Federal civilian employees automatically participate in one of the federal retirement systems. With few exceptions, the system an employee participates in is determined by the date of hire.

Chapter 3, Section 2: Employee Contributions

Contributions made to the various federal retirement programs are a part of the eligibility criteria that must be met to qualify for benefits.

Chapter 3, Section 4: Computation of CSRS and FERS Benefits

The amount of an employee's annuity depends primarily upon the worker's "high-3" average pay (which includes locality pay) and length of service. "High-3" average pay is the highest average annual pay produced by the employee's basic pay rates during any three consecutive years--more specifically, 36 consecutive months--of service.

Chapter 3, Section 5: Early Retirement

This section covers the two general types of early retirement: (1) voluntary and (2) involuntary (commonly referred to as discontinued service retirement, or DSR

Chapter 3, Section 6: Disability Retirement

Under both CSRS and FERS, benefits are payable to federal and postal employees no longer able to perform in their positions because of the onset of a disabling condition.

Chapter 3, Section 7: Alternative Form of Annuity: Lump-Sum Benefit

The "Alternative Form of Annuity" provision allowed workers entering retirement beginning in 1986 to receive a payment equal to the value of the contributions they made to the retirement program over their careers as a tax-free amount, with annuity payments then reduced.

Chapter 3, Section 8: Specific Annuity Rules Applying to Special Groups

Members of several special groups pay differing levels of employee contributions toward retirement and are eligible to retire under age and service combinations that differ from those applying to standard retirement.

Chapter 3, Section 9: Social Security Benefits

Social Security is one of the three legs of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), a civil service annuity and the Thrift Savings Plan being the other two. Many employees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) also are eligible for Social Security benefits, due either to their employment in Social Security-covered jobs or military service, or through spousal or survivor rights.

Chapter 3: Retirement